When the people at Ducati presented the Cruiser 175 to the world, they were well aware that they were facing a nearly impossible challenge. They took the plunge out of pure passion. They had two obstacles to overcome: two iconic, rival scooters that had been winning over country after country with wild success. They were the Vespa, patented by Piaggio in 1946, and the Lambretta, launched by Innocenti the following year.
The bold manufacturer from Borgo Panigale unveiled its innovative model at Milan’s Fair in January 1952. Its four-stroke engine, automatic shift, and electric start – developed in collaboration with Giovanni Florio and Carrozzeria Ghia, the Turin-based company specializing in high-end cars – were avant-garde features at the time.
The brave move against Vespa and Lambretta proved an impossible feat, and fizzled within a couple of years. Only a few thousand Cruiser 175 were sold, but the wonderful scooter’s only fault was to have competed against two giants.